Only after a day the launch of the European Commission’s (EC) formal investigation against Apple, a number of software developers are publicly speaking up against the company’s App Store policy.
Match Group, Basecamp, and Epic Games have joined Spotify in accusing the iPhone maker of anti-competitive behavior and are uniting to condemn Apple’s 30% share in apps revenue via its digital store.
Earlier this month, Tile filed a complaint with the EU on similar allegations of Apple deliberately putting competing products’ applications at a disadvantage to promote its own products and services.
Software Developers’ Complaints
Many developers of email, video, and music streaming services and games have released public statements in respect of being treated unfairly, and in extreme scenarios, being bullied by the smartphone manufacturer.
‘Hey’ email app by Basecamp
CTO of Basecamp, David Heinemeier Hansson expressed his frustration with the App Store policy on Twitter. In a lengthy and detailed thread, he explained how Apple is “demanding” up to 30% revenue of his new email app, HEY. He accuses the company of rejecting Basecamp’s request to release updates to its email application to offer new features, performance improvements and bug fixes.
Wow. I'm literally stunned. Apple just doubled down on their rejection of HEY's ability to provide bug fixes and new features, unless we submit to their outrageous demand of 15-30% of our revenue. Even worse: We're told that unless we comply, they'll REMOVE THE APP.
— DHH (@dhh) June 16, 2020
In case of non-compliance to the 15% to 30% revenue cut, the developer is threatened with the remove the application from the software store.
Match Group – Tinder’s parent company
Match-making applications developer, Match Group spoke with Axios after the launch of EC formal investigation about the unfair 30% cut in purchases made via the App Store. The company maintains that it is standing up to the unequal policy of payments and is willing to resolve the issue through dialogue. A Match Group representative said:
“We’re acutely aware of their power over us. They claim we’re asking for a “free ride” when the reality is, “digital services” are the only category of apps that have to pay the App Store fees. The overwhelming majority of apps, including Internet behemoths that connect people (ride share/gig apps), or monetize by selling advertising (social networks), have never been subject to Apple’s payments systems and fees, and this is not right.
Fortnite developer Epic Games
Every time a player makes an in-app purchase on Fortnite, a portion of the revenue goes to Apple which irks the game’s developer. To share a fraction of the in-app purchases results in increasing price which puts the consumer at a disadvantage.
EC investigation and Spotify
Spotify, a popular music streaming service has been in an altercation with Cupertino HQ for some time now. The company maintains a website to educate the masses of Apple’s unfair policy and now welcomes the investigation calling it “time to play fair”.
EC acknowledged the streaming service complaint in lodging the probe.
“The investigations concern the application of these rules to all apps, which compete with Apple’s own apps and services in the European Economic Area (EEA). The investigations follow-up on separate complaints by Spotify and by an e-book/audiobook distributor on the impact of the App Store rules on competition in music streaming and e-books/audiobooks”.
On June 16, EC launched an antitrust probe into California tech giant’s App Store rules to investigate any violation of the Commission’s rules.
The European Commission has opened formal antitrust investigations to assess whether Apple’s rules for app developers on the distribution of apps via the App Store violate EU competition rules. The investigations concern in particular the mandatory use of Apple’s own proprietary in-app purchase system and restrictions on the ability of developers to inform iPhone and iPad users of alternative cheaper purchasing possibilities outside of apps.
Read the complete EC report here.
App Store ecosystem
On June 15, Apple reported that the App Store earned an incredible half a trillion dollars in billings and sales in 2019. On this occasion, CEO Tim Cook acknowledged the contribution of developers in transforming the company’s app ecosystem into a diverse market place for its global consumers.
Addressing the investigation, the company categorically rejected all anti-competitor behavior and said that some companies and developers do not wish to comply by the rules.